Virtual Service – April 25, 2021

8:30 am

April 25, 2021

Virtual Service

Welcome to virtual church!

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Sunday Service Video (30+ minutes followed by the hymns)

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – video and text. If you wish, you can download and print the service from this document – link – or you can read the complete service below.

The hymn-sing is at the end.


Announcements

• Tax preparation for people with modest incomes: The Walton Tax Clinic will be starting up again on March 1st, 2021, as part of the Walton Outreach Committee. Due to COVID precautions, we will manage with an “exchange of documents” in the Walton parking lot and follow-up telephone calls. If you have an interest in having us assist you, please call: 905-631-6188
• Children and youth
are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. If you’ve ever had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, then this lesson is for you!
•  Walton’s prayer chain is open. Confidential prayers requests can be sent to office@waltonmemorial.com
•  If you need Rev. Jim for a pastoral emergency, please email him directly at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com


Welcome

Welcome to worship for Sunday, April 25th. Walton United Church is located in Oakville, Ontario and most of the recording has taken place in Oakville or nearby Burlington. The photo that serves as a background for the sermon was taken a few years ago on the Isle of Iona, Scotland.

Wherever you are and on whatever day you may be sharing in this time of worship, my prayer is that it will be a blessing to you.

My thank-you to those participating in today’s service as well as those who have helped in any way to put the service together.

Let us worship God.

Call to Worship

One: Each day is a gift,
All: a time to be shared with God who loves us like a shepherd loves their sheep.

One: Each time of worship is a gift,
All: a time to be encouraged, strengthened, and guided by the Good Shepherd.

One: Each moment is a gift,
All: a time to share God’s love with others so the world God loves will be a safer, fairer and more caring place for all.

Let us worship God!

Opening Prayer

Shepherding God, we thank you for this time to pause and to be mindful of your presence. Open us to know your goodness, your compassion and your forgiveness. Bless us as we worship, we pray, help us to be ready to be your caring people in the world. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ who taught his followers to pray:

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Youth Story

Good morning boys and girls. In the Bible, you and I are described as sheep at times, and that Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” who looks after the sheep. So, I’m going to pretend I’m a sheep. And I like to go lots of different places. Maybe you like to do the same, but sometimes, do you find yourself doing something that Jesus wouldn’t be pleased about? Maybe you get too close to the edge? It’s pretty dangerous.

Well it’s funny how God works. Jesus, like a Good Shepherd, has a crook and lovingly brings us back from going over the edge. If we fall over the edge, we might break our leg, but sometimes we are falling over other ledges that aren’t too good for us in our life. And Jesus is there bringing us back, making sure that we are safe, because Jesus loves us.

Now sometimes, Jesus uses people as a crook to make sure we are safe. People like our parents, our brothers and sisters, teachers, people here at the church. Sometimes, we look after each other to make sure we don’t fall off the edge of the piano.

Jesus loves us and wants to protect us! Let us say a word of prayer:
O God, we give thanks that you protect us and care for us through Jesus.
Help us to shepherd others. Help us to protect others.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Anthem: “The Lord will be my Shepherd”

 

Scripture Reading: John 10: 11-18 (New Revised Standard Version)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who does not own the sheep and who is not the shepherd, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away – and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because the hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

Morning Message: “Hired Hand or Shepherd?” – Rev. Karen Inkster

Did you see the picture a few weeks ago of a sheep in Australia that had been lost for about 5 years? It is a merino sheep which apparently continue to grow wool even if they are not being sheared regularly. When finally shorn it was discovered that this sheep had been carrying around 35 kg or approximately 77 pounds of wool! Can you imagine!? I’ve decided not to get my hair cut until I have been fully vaccinated which probably won’t be for another 3 months. I’m already looking forward to the relief of getting my hair cut! I can only imagine how good it must have felt for that sheep to shed those 35kg of wool!

Today’s scripture talks about sheep and more specifically about those who look after the sheep – the hired hand and the shepherd. This story was used to compare the styles of leadership that would be used by those wanting to lead the followers of Jesus. It’s an important comparison for us to think about as we look at the various kinds of leaders in our day – not only religious leaders but also anyone who occupies any position of authority. It is also an important comparison for us to consider personally because most of us at some time, in some way, has a position of leadership and authority whether as a parent or a baby sitter, a minor league coach, a drama teacher, the president of a service club. What style of leadership should we use? Will we be more like the shepherd or more like the hired hand?

The scripture says that when the wolf comes to attack the sheep, the hired hand runs away. This type of leadership is a model of self-preservation. We see it in the political scandal of which the public only hears faint rumours because someone threatens an employee’s job if he tells the truth. We see it when the chair of a committee alters the facts to cover up her mistakes. We see it in countries where those who dare to express an opinion contrary to the ruling government end up being silenced by imprisonment or worse. In these kinds of situations, we see the hired hand choosing the leadership style of self-preservation.
The hired hand is further encouraged to run away because he doesn’t really care about the sheep. It was just a job. He used them for his own purposes.

My brother was sorting through some boxes and came upon a puppet that I had enjoyed playing with when growing up. It was a black cat with green eyes and a now-faded red bow that I used to practice my ventriloquist skills, which by the way, weren’t very good! He brought the puppet over one day and it brought back another memory for me. I remember the classmate who suddenly wanted to be my friend. It took me a while but eventually, after several after school visits to our house, I realized she didn’t want me as a friend. She was just using me because she wanted to play with that puppet!

That’s a common story among children and you may recognize something similar happening in your life as a child. Unfortunately, it is a pattern that doesn’t end with children. There are people of all ages who use others for their own gain – sometimes intentionally and sometimes without even realizing that they are doing that.

There is the parent who drives her daughter to be the lawyer she had wanted to be. There’s the soccer coach who pushes and pushes his team because he wants the glory of the championship, forgetting that the players are just kids wanting to have fun. There’s the executive member who promotes her plan ahead of everyone else’s, even manipulating some of the weaker members into supporting her, because she wants to look good and get the promotion.

This is the kind of leadership that stifles the valuing of other people and their opinions. It promotes ‘using’ people especially those who are vulnerable. It limits another person’s freedom to pursuit their own dreams. It fosters another person’s low self-esteem and can perpetuate their lack of confidence. These ways of doing things are in sharp contrast to God’s will for our family, church, community and world.

Fortunately, the hired hand was not the only one tending the sheep. There also was the Good Shepherd who is willing to lay down his life for the sheep. He loves the sheep and the sheep’s welfare comes before his own. Jesus is that Good Shepherd and he provides us with a model of leadership based on the principles of compassion, respect for all, and self-sacrifice. This is the kind of leadership that promotes God’s dream for the world –a place where agendas focus on the care of everyone even the vulnerable, a place where all are listened to, a place where all are loved without strings attached, a place where truth-telling is valued and working together is encouraged.

The leadership style of the good shepherd is the leadership style each one of us is invited to embrace as we respond to God’s call to be the chairperson of a church committee, a music teacher, someone in the community who co-ordinates a response to those who are hungry or, most importantly, a parent or older sibling.

That doesn’t mean it will always be easy. It usually is a lot easier for any of us to respond like the hired hand than to respond like the good shepherd. And even when we do try to follow the approach of the good shepherd we may at times fall short.

However, God always meets us with forgiveness and assures us that following the leadership style of the Good Shepherd is possible.

Listen again to what the scripture says, “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. Just as the Father knows me, I know the Father.” The passage resounds of intimacy, the intimacy between Jesus and God and the intimacy between Jesus and his followers.

We are empowered to follow Jesus’ leadership style because of the relationship we have with Jesus. His Spirit lives in us empowering us to be who we could never be on our own. We’re encouraged to listen to others with an open mind; to be more aware of the feelings of other people; to be more accepting of those who disagree with us; to set aside our need always to be right; to recognize that we may have a good idea but someone else has an even better one; and to be more caring.

When we look at our lives and those who mean or have meant the most to us, it isn’t necessarily the teacher who taught us the most Physics, the scout leader who taught us the best camping skills or the parent who taught us to be a gourmet cook that matter the most to us. It usually is the person who treated us with care, who forgave our mistakes, who stood by us when we were going through a difficult time and who celebrated with us in good times.
Hired hand or Good Shepherd?

Look to the life of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, for a model of leadership God invites you to follow in your life. Give thanks for those who have enhanced your life by their care. Invite the Spirit of the Good Shepherd to live in you and work through so you in turn maybe like a good shepherd to others.

Pastoral Prayer

Living God, we are the sheep of your pasture and you are our shepherd who never abandons us. We praise you for the many blessings you give us day by day. We thank you for forgiveness, hope and new life offered to us through Jesus. We thank you for your Holy Spirit who guides us as we try to live as your people. We thank you for those in our past and in our present who act like the good shepherd – people who love us, support us, inspire us, and care for us.

Yet we are aware of so many within the human family who need care, encouragement and someone to be their advocate. We pray for Canadians imprisoned in other countries often without a fair trial. We pray for those who still suffer the effects of ‘conversion therapy’ because in some people’s opinion they have the ‘wrong’ sexual orientation. We pray for children literally starving to death in Yemen because of war-induced famine. We pray for scientists, medical personnel, volunteers and politicians as they work to provide vaccines to as many people as quickly as they can. We pray for those overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for someone who is ill. We pray for all who are ill, dying, or afraid.

We offer to you now our silent prayers for our family, our friends and ourselves…

Silence…

O God, use our congregation and each one of us individually to help bring your healing and your care to this hurting world.

We pray in the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Amen.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Presenting our offering to God is a sacred act of worship. Whenever we share our money or other resources, our time or our care with others, we are saying ‘thank you’ to God for the many blessings that God gives to us.

I invite you in an act of worship to offer your gifts and your life.

♥ by secure online payment from your bank or credit card. Click here to go to our donation page to make a single or recurring donation. Multiple funds (including Sleeping Children) can be included in one donation by using the “Add Donation” button.
♥ by cheque through the mail slot at the Church office entrance or by Canada Post.
♥ by monthly PAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com.

Offering Prayer

Gifting God, in response to your great love for us, we make our offering – the fruit of our labour and the devotion of our hearts. We ask that you bless these gifts and use them according to your will. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Benediction

Go into this day and into the week to come assure that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is with you.
Invite the Spirit of the Living Christ to work in you and through you that you may be like the good shepherd for others.
The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
the Love of God, and
the Communion of the Holy Spirit
be with each one of us today and forevermore. (based on 2 Corinthians 13:13)
Amen.


Walton’s Musical Message

This morning on Facebook and on YouTube, we’re sharing a video where Linda shares with us several of our favourite hymns! Sing along!

Are You a Shepherd (More Voices #126)
♬ Shepherd Me O God (LUYH #456)
♬ Jesus, Shepherd of our souls (Ron Klusmeier, verses 1&4)
♬ Saviour like a Shepherd lead us (LUYH #330, verses 1&2)
♬ Go Now in Peace (Don Besig)


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, April 21th